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FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: All you need to know about Iraq U-17

6:13 PM GMT+8 30/08/2017
Iraq U-17 Team
Counting down towards the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, Goal provides you with a guide to the Iraqi side - key players, coaching staff and much more.

India is all set to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scheduled to kick off on 6th October. 24 countries from six confederations will be competing for one of the biggest honours in youth football, with the matches being hosted in six cities across the country. 

In this segment, we take a look at Iraq's U-17 team and guide you through their journey to the world cup, highlighting their key players, coaching staff and much more.


INTRODUCTION


Country: Iraq

Confederation: AFC (Asia)

Nicknames: Ashbal Al-Rafidayn, Lions cubs of Mesopotamia

Coach: Qahtan Jathir


PAST RECORDS AND LAURELS


India 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will be Iraq's second appearance at the blockbuster event. They have featured just once earlier, in the year 2013. At the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in the United Arab Emirates, the Iraqis had a disappointing run as they ended on the last position in their group. The Lion Cubs of Mesopotamia fell prey to Sweden, Mexico and Nigeria, the teams that eventually claimed first, second and third place in the tournament, in Group F.

Apart from their World Cup presence, the Iraqi team won the U-14 Asian Cup in 2014, as well as the West Asian Championship for U-16. These achievements took place under Jathir's guidance, and his staff, namely assistant managers Ghaleb Abdul Hussein and Moyed Gody, goalkeeping coach Hassan Jabar and Jalil Saleh, the general manager.


ROAD TO U-17 WORLD CUP


 

Qahtan Jathir's  army booked a berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup following their triumph in 2016 AFC U-16 Championship in 2016. After finishing second in Group C, they faced Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals whom they beat by a 2-0 scoreline. In the last four, the young Iraqis eliminated Japan and battled it out against Iran in the finale. The ultimate match of the tournament saw Iraq clinch the winner's medal following the winning penalty scored by Dawood as the match progressed into penalties after a 0-0 full-time score.


PREPARATIONS AHEAD OF THE MEGA-EVENT


 

The junior national side began their preparations for the World Cup in the month of June. The team played first against Iraqi clubs and then flew to Jordan and faced the country's U-17 side. Iraq won the initial match in a 1-0 result and drew the second fixture 3-3.

Iraq, who is the sole Arab representative in the tournament, was slated to play a match against Japan U17s in Tokyo but the tie was as it would have taken place on artificial grass.


TEAM COACH


National team coach Qahtan Jathir made history by guiding his charges to Iraq’s first-ever AFC U-16 Championship glory in October 2016. His playing career began at Iraqi club Al Talaba and also included spells in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Jathir also represented Iraq at the 2000 AFC Asian Cup and hung up his boots in 2007. Later, he went on to coach Al-Sinaa, Al-Najaf and Al-Shorta.


KEY PLAYERS


  The young Iraqi side has a bunch of pivotal players in the squad of which  Mohamed Dawood and  Mohamed Reda are the two most well-known. Mohamed Dawood is a midfielder and has six apperances and as many goals to his name. Mohamed Reda has put in good performances too as he won the player of the tournament during their title win in 2014.